Chief Deputy Lee Weems explaining shotgun techniques during Northwest TacCon at Firearms Academy of Seattle.
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This July, for the first time ever, TacCon was held in the Pacific Northwest (thus becoming Northwest TacCon). During NW TacCon, Chief Deputy at Oconee County Georgia Sheriff’s Office Lee Weems put a group of us through the Rolling Thunder shotgun drill.

The drill is designed to put shooters through the paces of reloads, rapid fire, and accuracy with their shotguns in a safe environment. It gave us time to hone our tactical shotguns skills on the range rather than finding out our reloads and manipulations are lacking during a home invasion. Five stars to Lee Weems for a solid shotgun class. I highly recommend Lee’s classes and lectures in general.

Back to Rolling Thunder. The drill goes as follows:

Shooters stood on the firing line 10 yards from a row of steel plates. Bird shot was being used rather than slugs or buckshot.

Lee designated the shooter at the far left end of the firing line to take the first shot. When the shot timer sounded, the first shooter would emergency load a single shotshell and fire that single shot.

The next shooter on the line would then emergency load a single shotshell and fire. This was repeated down the line.

When that was complete and it came back to the original shooter, he – an instructor named Jeff wielding an Ithaca, in this case – tube fed one, emergency reloaded one, and fired two. When he was done the next shooter in the line followed suit.

Next, tube feed two, emergency reload one. Fire three.

Then, tube feed three, emergency reload one. Fire four.

Remember, you cannot load, let alone fire, until the shooter to your left completed his repetition.

Rolling Thunder is a great way to hone your shotgun skills. It adds a unique stress because not only are you competing against yourself, you’re working as a team to move as quickly and accurately as possible. If even one shooter fumbles his reloads and/or botches his shots the entire line suffers as the final time for the drill rises. Bonus points if you hone your dual, triple, or quad loads during the drill.

Take a look at the video below to get an idea what Rolling Thunder looks like. Major thanks to Lee Weems and the Firearms Academy of Seattle for an awesome NW TacCon and great classes.

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  1. Firearms Academy of Seattle is an awesome place. They have a great variety of classes and guest instructors.

    Note that they are actually located roughly halfway between Seattle and Portland so they draw students from all over the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

    • And, if you ask Marty nicely, he’ll let you camp on the range during classes. It’s great to go for a week-long class like Weeklong Handgun or MAG40 and then wrap up every day with a giant bonfire and staring up at the light-pollution-free sky.

  2. Kept a Scatterguns Technologies 870 in my car for years because I had to. (Personally owned.) Seldom deployed it. As soon as I retired I sold it. That said, everyone should know the manual of arms for a repeating shotgun. Best place to learn? A really hot dove field. Been in some where you couldn’t keep your gun loaded. Shotguns are for dove, quail, ducks and turkey. Need a long gun? That’s why God made rifles. Preferably in .30 caliber.

  3. having been shot during a dis-agreement over timber rites [by a drunk] i returned fire with a sawed off twelve gauge [with rock-salt] end of fight INSTANTLY. something about a 3inch mag going off in a 18″ barrel at nught to light up the parade.NON-LETHAL, AND LASTING MEMORIES… never to be forgotten..

    • Robert, you were damned lucky and I’m glad it worked out for you, but I would never recommend taking a shotgun loaded with rock salt to a gunfight. I haven’t even heard of that in decades.

  4. So far the best shotgun course”s I’ve participated in were pheasant and duck hunting.

  5. I went through a Clint Smith shotgun class around 1990. Rolling thunder was done at the end of each day.
    By the end of day three, it was almost like one long explosion. Everybody was jacked up and not wanting to be “that guy” who whiffed a reload/load.

    Pure awesomeness.

    Hey Kat, next time something like that happens up this way, hit me up. I’d love to attend.
    Seattle is a pretty short drive for me.

  6. Uncle Scotty Reitz runs the same drill during his Shotgun classes at ITTS (International Tactical Training Seminars) in Southern California. But a weee-bit more intense.

    And because of his lifetime expertise (google him) and the experience of his LAPD Metro/D-Platoon/SWAT staff, it’s a helluva drill to endure. Especially at night…

    If you have the time, do yourself a favor and take a Shotgun class at ITTS. They teach ‘gunfighting’, plain and simple. It’s an amazing 2-day experience.

  7. I took a Rangemaster pistol class outside of Nashville. Lee Weems was one of the instructors. Great instructor and a genuinely good guy.

  8. The video did not seem to follow the text of the article.
    I got the idea from the article that the gunner to the right of the firing gunner couldn’t begin his reload until that gunner to the left had finished firing. Yet I saw gunners firing almost immediately after that gunner to the left finished firing, with no actions that looked in any way like loading.
    Remember, you cannot load, let alone fire, until the shooter to your left completed his repetition.
    To me, it looked like everyone in the line cheated.
    Understanding that in a gunfight, there’s no such thing as cheating, but this is a drill, not a gunfight.

    • The article had the details of the drill wrong rather than the drill not following the article.

      • Yep – y’all beat me to that commentary. For this drill, You load as soon as you shoot so you are prepared the next time your turn comes. That sequence also reinforces the ‘immediately load what you shoot’ mandate for the defensive shotgun. And for those who think bird hunting adequately prepares you for using a shotgun in social circumstances, glad to hear you already know all there is about running a shotgun under all conditions.
        Tom in OR, my first defensive shotgun class was also with Clint in Texas about ‘96 or ‘97. Set a good foundation, very worthwhile and also fun, like all his classes. I envy you being close to his new facility!

  9. i dont really see the benefit of this with other people. how does this help in a home defense situation? i can’t really think on ANY real world scenario this would help in i guess other than just loading ER’s. but you don’t need other people for that.

    • It puts the shooter(s) under a bit of stress for starters that we wouldn’t normally be under by ourselves.

      Training to shoot under stress is a very valuable tool for home defense situations.

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